Spending his formative years in Latin America, the US and Australia and speaking three languages has shaped Wing Commander Ivan Benitez-Aguirre’s perspective and approach to new situations.
CAPTION: Wing Commander Ivan Benitez-Aguirre at Headquarters Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2018. Photo by Sergeant Mark Doran.
Posted to the Air Force 2021 team as deputy director strategic communication Wing Commander Benitez-Aguirre is ensuring the stories of Air Force’s 100-year service to the nation are shared.
He said culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) perspectives in Air Force and Defence are critical, especially on operations.
“I have witnessed firsthand, during deployments in Timor-Leste and Afghanistan, the major advantages that having an in-depth understanding of the local culture and language, can give a commander in the field,” Wing Commander Benitez-Aguirre said.
“This CALD perspective has been very useful in providing a solid platform to build trust and rapport with local authorities, coalition partners and other parties as well as enhancing the situational awareness in often unfamiliar settings.
“Diversity is a true capability enhancer – we all have something unique to contribute and our Air Force can only benefit from this.”
A diverse workforce ensures Air Force can seize opportunities to engage with local populations and build relationships, domestically and overseas.
Wing Commander Benitez-Aguirre said he often draws on his own background and experiences to determine the best way forward, especially in a constantly evolving workforce.
“These experiences have enabled me to analyse challenges from multiple angles not considered by my peers and supervisors – this directly benefits Air Force through access to a broader emotional intelligence resource for the application of air and space power in an ever growing globalised environment,” he said.
“The ability gained through my CALD background, to analyse situations from different perspectives and actively listen to what is being said, has been of exceptional value when dealing with change management and successfully bringing my teams along on the journey.
“Having a different perspective to managing an issue is not a weakness but rather a major strength to be harnessed.”